New Jersey Defense Attorney
A person is guilty of theft if he knowingly receives or brings into New Jersey movable property of another knowing that it has been stolen, or believing that it is probably stolen. It is a defense if the property was received with the purpose of restoring it to the owner. “Receiving” means acquiring possession, control or title, or lending on the security of the property.
Knowledge or belief is presumed for a person who does at least one of the following:
- Is found in possession or control of two or more items of property stolen on two or more separate occasions.
- Has received stolen property in another transaction within the year preceding the transaction charged.
- Is in the business of buying or selling property of the sort received and acquires the property without having ascertained by reasonable inquiry that the person from whom he obtained it had a legal right to possess and dispose of it.
- Is found in possession of two or more defaced access devices.
As a New Jersey criminal defense attorney can advise you, receiving stolen property is basically obtaining unauthorized control over the property of another with the purpose of appropriating or disposing of it for the benefit of someone other than the owner.
The prosecution must establish that the defendant had “mens rea” or a criminal state of mind to show that not only did the defendant possess the stolen property, but he or she knew that the property was stolen and intended to possess the stolen property. As a New Jersey criminal defense attorney knows, this is often difficult for the prosecution to prove.
When a defendant’s state of mind is at issue, a good New Jersey criminal defense attorney will put into play one of the various defense strategies this offers. For example, if a defendant is unaware that property is stolen, he or she may not be convicted under this statute, even if he or she later learns that the property was stolen.